Bye Bye Hotel … Hello Home

Filed under: Just For Fun,Leisure,Vacation Tips |

The effects of the booming Vacation Home industry are now being felt by the Hotel Industry.  All the years of taking customers for granted, treating them like sardines and giving impersonal customer service are now taking a toll … not to say the overpriced rooms … read on from the Orlando Sentinel.  

Metro Orlando’s hotel-occupancy levels falter in December

A report says that hoteliers in December experienced the largest monthly decline since last spring.

Metro Orlando’s hotel occupancy levels dropped nearly 4 percent last month compared with December 2006, the biggest monthly decline since April 2007 and the first downturn since last summer.

Hotel occupancy and room rates were down in all price categories except budget, as many hotels had to cope with a slowdown during a historically active travel month.

Smith Travel Research reported Thursday that 60.6 percent of the hotel rooms in its Metro Orlando survey were occupied in December, down from 62.9 percent in December 2006. The average room rate slipped from $102.70 a night a year ago to $101.97 last month.

Although the decline wasn’t large — and Smith’s survey misses many hotels, including those in Walt Disney World — it came during the holiday-travel season and as the economy was weakening and energy prices were rising.

“We’re disappointed as an industry,” said Rich Maladecki, president of the Central Florida Hotel & Lodging Association. “We are monitoring the situation closely, but we don’t see a trend yet.”

Even after this month’s big drop in stock prices and widespread speculation that the economy is slipping into a recession, many hoteliers remain optimistic about 2008.

“We had a poor December, year over year. It was mostly group business that was down,” said Gary Dybul, director of sales and marketing with the 781-room Renaissance Orlando SeaWorld Resort. “But January and February are looking pretty good, and so is the entire first half of the year.”

Hotel occupancy has a direct effect on Central Florida’s economy. It reflects the volume of tourists and business travelers coming to the area, and room revenue is the main source of resort-tax income, which is used to fund promotional campaigns and the Orange County Convention Center — and the new basketball arena and performing-arts center planned for downtown Orlando.

Gary Sain, president and chief executive officer of the Orlando/Orange County Convention & Visitors Bureau, said he is “cautiously optimistic” about travel to Central Florida this year. His agency is using resort-tax revenue to help fund a stepped-up advertising campaign this winter aimed at persuading families to visit Central Florida.

“With a destination like this, we have to constantly be telling our story,” Sain said. “This is particularly true in tough times. We think this will be an up-and-down year. I’m hoping there will be more ups than downs.”

James Enos, general manager of the 246-room Orlando Vista Hotel near Disney World, said his hotel had a soft December. This month, however, is on par with last January, he said.

“We’ve been keeping an eye on gas prices, but we haven’t seen an impact yet,” Enos said. “We think that maybe people were just cautious at the end of last year. Some hotels showed declines, but that’s behind us. For now, we’re pacing ahead of last year.”

MAYBE THEY WILL BUCK UP THEIR IDEAS … BUT I DOUBT IT. No complaints here … we are waiting to serve you up the lifestyle experience you deserve when vacationing in Central Florida …

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